The BBC Micro:Bit is a tiny programmable computer, designed to make learning and teaching easy and fun! The first devices were in the public’s hand in February 2016 in the UK and on March 22, 2016, every 7th grade student in Britain received one of these pocket-sized computers. That was nearly 1 million devices.
With the Micro:Bit being half the size of a credit card, it is packed with built-in features that are sure to spark the interest of students. This device has ARM Cortex-M0 processor, two programmable buttons, 25 red LEDs, Bluetooth, USB, accelerometer, magnetometer, and a proprietary edge connector making it easy for expansion. It can be easily powered by a 5v standard micro usb cable, or an external battery pack with the JST connector.
The Micro:Bit is a great platform to get kids interested in electronics and technology. Coding with the online Microsoft Makecode is fun and easy. But best of all, there are no drivers required! The Micro:Bit is plug and Play which makes it a perfect platform for young minds and educators. I think we all know the biggest challenge in teaching technology, is getting everything to work properly.
Another great feature is the availability to program this device with not only any computer (Mac, Windows, Chromebook, etc…) but there is also a Bluetooth app for IOS and Android for the 1 to 1 school with tablets.
After every 7th grader in the UK to get one of these fine boards, it took some time for the market to catch up. Digi-Key has been selling this product since the release in 2016, but we are now seeing the sales in the US pick up. With technology being such a big part of everyone’s life, schools are trying to teach more and more technology to the young minds of tomorrow. The Micro:Bit is a perfect start. Now with an endless number of peripherals and more ways to program the board it has become much easier for even the most novice teacher to educate.
I was recently at a STEM conference filled with teachers and technology staff. This is where I noticed the Micro:Bit being a big player in the game. Many booths were showcasing this device all using different ideas and peripherals to demonstrate the scope of the platform.
The Micro:Bit is here to stay and will be a big player in the STEM game for all areas of the world. For more information, check out our platform page.